By calling Don Cherry a father of “world music,” I don’t mean to slight either his trumpet playing or his vital niche in the history of jazz. His expertise on the instrument–which might be seen as a logical (if bold) extension of Dizzy Gillespie’s playing–made it possible for him to learn and execute the early music of Ornette Coleman; in fact, Coleman’s first recordings seem to belong almost as much to Cherry, whose scruffy sound has twined inextricably with the music. But the same spirit of exploration that brought Cherry to Coleman also impelled him to other cultures and wildly diverse musical traditions: since the late 60s, he has been perhaps the preeminent geomusical explorer, dragging intimate knowledge of Indian, West and North African, Brazilian, Balinese, Amerind, and any other kind of music–including good old American jazz–that catches his extremely catholic fancy. Cherry has become an itinerant melting pot, simmering these different musics through his consciousness and, as often as not, binding their essences together. It’s the sound track for the millennium, folks. Cherry’s group, Multikulti, reunites him with saxophonist James Clay–his old Los Angeles running mate–and Chicago drummer Hamid Drake, who’s completely at home with just about any combination of rhythms Cherry might dish out. Thursday, 7:30 and 10 PM, Cubby Bear, 1059 W. Addison; 327-1662.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Carol Friedman.